Chelsea lack firepower upfront, says frustrated boss Jose Mourinho
Manager bemoans his strikers and could be on the lookout for a new forward as Norwich hold Blues to a goalless draw
Reuters in London
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho bemoaned his side's lack of a game-changing striker after their season effectively fizzled out in a 0-0 home Premier League draw to Norwich City that typified their inconsistent campaign.
The result left Chelsea in third place with only one game to play, a point behind Manchester City and Liverpool, both of whom had two matches left ahead of the Reds' overnight meeting with Crystal Palace.
Only a week ago, when an under-strength Chelsea beat Liverpool 2-0 at Anfield with a gutsy defensive display, Mourinho's side had a chance of winning two major trophies.
But they exited the Champions League on Wednesday after losing a semi-final second leg tie at home to Atletico Madrid and their slim league chances were all but written off with Sunday's failure to beat a decidedly modest Norwich outfit.
Mourinho, who returned to Stamford Bridge a year ago after a trophy-laden first stint with the club, has said he will be looking for a new forward during the close-season.
He again voiced his frustrations with the lack of goals from his main strikers Fernando Torres, Demba Ba and Samuel Eto'o.
"Our strikers are good strikers, no doubts about that," Mourinho said. "But ... they are not the kind of players in five square metres, with three or four players around, they can get the ball, they can dribble on, they can see the space, they can make the shot.
"So when the team is in a difficult situation they are not able normally to resolve the situation for us," Mourinho said.
Chelsea have the best defensive record in the Premier League having conceded only 26 goals all season. But they have scored nearly 30 goals fewer than both City and Liverpool.
British media reports have linked them with a move for Atletico Madrid's prolific striker Diego Costa in the close-season.
While Chelsea beat both their closest title rivals home and away, their lack of goals contributed to narrow defeats at the hands of struggling sides such as Crystal Palace, Aston Villa and Sunderland.
As well as Chelsea's under-performing strikers, there are questions about whether veteran defenders John Terry and Ashley Cole and midfielder Frank Lampard might leave the club. All three will be out of contract at the end of the season.
The trio had their photograph taken together as the players made a lap of honour on the pitch at the end of the last home game of the season.
When asked whether they would play for Chelsea again, Mourinho said: "I think so, I think so. But now, it's time to wait a little bit. The summer is a long summer," adding they would be talking to the club about their futures.
Lampard, 35, is Chelsea's all-time leading scorer and Terry, 33, is the club's most decorated captain, while 33-year-old Cole was first-choice left-back until losing his place to Cesar Azpilicueta this season.
Norwich interim manager Neil Adams felt his side were denied a "stonewall" penalty in the first half after Terry felled Martin Olsson as he prodded a shot towards Chelsea's goal.
Norwich will effectively be relegated tomorrow if fourth-bottom Sunderland avoid defeat at home to fifth-bottom West Bromwich Albion.
"We need results. We need a bit of luck," Adams said.
"Hopefully if it goes our way, we have to make sure Sunday's game [at home to Arsenal] is a fantastic occasion."
Reuters, Agence France-Presse